I have just started working with a gentleman who is cheating on his wife. With his consent I am documenting his situation, so that others can learn from it, and offering my advice and guidance, to hopefully save the marriage.
First, here’s a summary from Erik…
I’ve been married 19 years and have two children, 16 & 14.
I love my wife very much but I do not think that she loves me.
Our relationship has never been great. We have difficulty communicating with each other. Prior to marriage for about 1 year into it, the physical relationship was good.
Things started to change after that and I became dissatisfied with the frequency of sex.
I had my first, one time, affair on a business trip in 1993 (married 1 1/2 years at that point). I confessed it to her and we began marriage therapy.
The sex never really returned to a level where I was satisfied but I remained true for many years. In 1999, I had my second, one time, affair while on a business trip. This time I did not confess.
In late 2006, I began a long-term affair with a woman I met through AshleyMadison.com. The relationship was fun and light hearted and consisted of sex once a week at a motel and meeting for coffee once a week. There were a lot of email, calls, and IM chats between us. The affair ended in mid- 2007 my family and I moved to another state.
Once we settled in to our new area, I began looking for sexual partners through online services like Craigslist, Adult Friend Finder, and other sites. I made four separate, one time hook ups over the course of six months. ‘One time’ affairs are really not what I am seeking. I prefer a discreet relationship with one person.
Earlier this year, I connected with a woman 13 years younger than me and we had a discreet relationship for about three months. It ended because she wanted more of my time and I could not provide it.
I have not had an affair since (about 6 months ago).
I sent my wife a letter in May of this year that told her that I love her but I know she does not love me. I was willing to step aside and let her go if it would help her find happiness. That prompted her to seek out a sex therapist for help and I now attend the sessions with her. I thought she was seeking help with her sexual dysfunction but the therapy seems to focus on her frustrations, anger and resentment with me.
What did she say? Does she love you? Is she In love with you? Does she want to stay with you and have a mutually fulfilling and intimate marriage? Please expand more on this….
After I sent the letter, the only real answer I got was that she “loves me in the way that she knows love.” However this answer does not sit well with me for a few reasons.
First, she gave her love more freely and openly in the beginning of our relationship. She does not treat me the way you treat someone you are in love with. She has admitted that she treats me poorly and often is cold and nasty towards me. She has no interest in being physical with me and seems to have no interest in what is happening in my life. She never asks how my day was, what is going on at work, what I am thinking or feeling.
In terms of saying I love you, she will never say it unless I say it first, then I believe, she feels that she must respond with an I love you too.
She says she wants a good, happy marriage and up until recently had been attending therapy sessions together. We just stopped to try a different method of connecting. We are about to do the workbook that is available for the book Receiving Love. I need to finish reading the book first before we can try the 12 week program that the workbook will take us through.
Did the therapy find that her anger and resentment with you wasn’t really about you, but due to the past? It seems unusual if things were really good sexually and then changed… normally you find that people who have been abused struggle with any sort of intimacy.
Well the therapy has not revealed too much about her early sexual issues. It has made it clear that she resents me for abandoning her emotionally. She harbors a lot of anger towards me. She does not talk to me about her feelings or what is happening in her life anymore. She has a network of friends that she turns to on a daily basis for support.
Can you pin point what happened a year into marriage for her sex drive to decrease? Normally when women have children their drive can decrease, but you haven’t mentioned that so I’m wondering what happened….
When the frequency of sex was decreasing, I asked her why and she said that now that she is married she just does not feel the need for sex as much as she used to. She denies that she made this statement. We had not had children at that point.
Your sex drive has it stayed the same? How many times did you have it when things were good?
Well remember it was only good up to the first year of marriage. In the very beginning we had sex 5 to 6 times a week. Even after marrying we had sex 1-3 times a week.
In the past five years we have has sex 3 times and at this point. My sex drive is healthy and I would if I could have sex daily. I am happy to settle for weekly sexual encounters.
How old are you now, and at what age did you marry?
I am 47 and married at 28
Where are things at now with your marriage and the therapy etc?
The marriage is very fragile. I think about leaving everyday. I can only imagine that she does too. We do not communicate well but have been communicating better lately than we traditionally have in the past. I am always optimistic that things will change but sometimes I wonder if I am blind with my hopes being so high. Therapy is on hold until we get through the work book.
Have you ever considered leaving your wife? If yes, then why did you stay if you didn’t/don’t think she loves you?
I stay because I do love her and want to be with her. I stay for the children (16 & 14) I stay because it would be financially difficult to have to split the assets and still pay her maintenance and child support.
If you haven’t thought about it, do you envisage staying together even if things don’t change?
No I will not be with her if things don’t change.
What are you doing your end to try to sort your marriage out? I realize that you’re going to the sex therapist sessions with her, but that seems that it’s about her and not you. Can you see any fault with yourself in the decline of intimacy in your marriage? Is there anything you think you could have done/should have done to avoid it getting as bad as it is?
Yes there is a lot I could have done. I certainly could have been a better partner and not pushed her away when she wanted to talk or when she was feeling scared or other emotions. I try now to ask her how she is doing, to engage her in conversation and she is unresponsive to my attempts.
Apart from sex what are you seeking from your affairs? How do the women you see make you feel?
Depends on the situation. The most recent was just sex and the experience of having the husband watch. Most of the women make me feel attractive and sexy and desired. I like that feeling. My wife never tells me I look good or that I am sexy.